Keiko, a 36-year-old woman, has been working in a convenience store for eighteen years. It suits her very much and her whole life revolves around being a good worker for the store. She has a hard time understanding social structures, but, in her own words, she is infected with people around her and therefore tries to act very much like them. Fitting in has not been easy for her, but she feels like a meaningful functioning human being only in the store. Convenience store is her ultimate guide in life.
However, people around her have certain expectations that she cannot meet. It is not considered “normal” to be 36 and (still) working in a convenience store, not having a significant other or being married with kids. Even though Keiko is aware of her “weirdness”, she eventually cannot put up with this pestering and gives them something to talk about. Meanwhile she realises what she wants in life after all.
I recommend this book to anyone and everyone, especially to those who feel pressure from the society and people around them to act or be a certain way. This book just might put their mind at ease. It is fun, charming, and exceptionally quirky, but delivers its message very clearly. Keiko is certainly an unforgettable character.
London: Granta, 2019
Head of the Department of Literature in Foreign Languages